Leopard safari to start in Bannerghatta by month-end

Minister Eshwar B Khandre aid the safari will be similar to the lion and tiger safari available in the park, and will be open to the public from the third week of June.
Leoprad Safari to start in Bannerghatta.
Leoprad Safari to start in Bannerghatta.

BENGALURU: Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) will start a dedicated leopard safari, the first in South India, from June-end, Forest, Environment and Ecology Minister Eshwar B Khandre said on Monday.

The minister said the safari will be similar to the lion and tiger safari available in the park, and will be open to the public from the third week of June.

All leopards in the safari are rescued and hand-raised by the zookeepers. The safari area, spread across 20 hectares, is solar-fenced. A total of 13 leopards will be on display, on rotation basis, in 2-3 groups.

Khandre said that in-principle approval has been given to create a walkthrough in an aquarium in BBP for fresh water and salt water species, on public-private partnership. Another aquarium will be created for Mysuru Zoo in Karanji Lake.

After a meeting with the forest department and Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK) officials, the minister said that soon the two departments, along with Bengaluru University, will launch a 10-month diploma course on Animal Care and Management.

An official said, “At present, there is no dedicated course on handling animals. A lot of people and organisations are setting up private centres for exotic animals. The course was started to ensure they are certified. It will be under the zoology department, and will even help zoos get trained and certified professionals. Anybody who has completed pre-university can take up the course.”

Explaining about the aquarium, BBP officials said: “The Rs 150-crore project will be completed in 2-3 years. The greenfield project is planned to be set up in an abandoned quarry site near the butterfly park, on three acres of land on PPP model. Tenders for the project will be called soon.”

During the meeting, annual reports on Karnataka’s zoos were also released. Khandre directed Mysuru Zoo management to submit a report on creation of the aquarium in a fortnight. The minister also said that approval has been given to set up a vulture breeding centre in Bannerghatta National Park, which will be managed by BBP. More veterinarians will be appointed and wages of BBP staffers will be increased.

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